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Off-camera Speedlight Workshop

Last weekend was my third speedlight workshop with the LPMG and as the other times, it was very enjoyable. It's great to see how people are excited to learn and play with their flashguns. After explaining the theory, I invited the crowd to take their gears and practice the techniques in small groups of up to 4. Thanks to the LPMG helpers, every one receive some supports while they are shooting.

My favorite is the image above. Recently I saw some few movie posters using a lighting that seems to focus the light more on the centre of the subject's face while the rest is in a controlled shadow where you can still see some details. Thor's posters is one example.

So at last Saturday's workshop, I decided to quickly demonstrate how we can easily achieve the same kind of lighting using two lights (not including extra lights for the hair as on the portrait of Natalie Portman).

The key here is to use a tight beam of light for the centre of the face, so we are going to use a speedlight mounted with a grid spot. But before starting exposing for this key light, it's more interesting to start exposing for the secondary light. The secondary light is a on-axis fill-light, a flashgun shooting through either an umbrella or a softbox and placed right behind me. The on-axis fill-light will allow me to set the level of my shadows. Starting with a very low power setting, I will gradually increase the power of my fill-light until the face is still very dark but showing enough details. This means it cannot go darker than what I've set.

Now that my shadows are set, I just needed to bring in my grid spot light and positioned it accurately so that its tight beam is lighting the part of the face I wanted to bring into light. After few test shots, I was ready to take my final shot above.

In less than 10 minutes I got my demo done. Spending slightly more time playing with the lights and adding some hair lights, I could easily recreate the same type of image.

Here are some other shots from the day.


More workshops?

Any more workshops coming up?

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